If your child has suffered from regular middle ear infections, our ear, nose and throat doctors may have suggested ear tubes.
Ear tubes are tiny cylinders made from plastic or metal that are surgically put into the eardrum. This creates an airway that ventilates the middle ear and prevents the fluid buildup behind the ear drum.
Ear tubes are surgically inserted (called a myringotomy) by an Otolaryngologist (ENT doctor), using anesthesia. This is an outpatient procedure. The ear tube prevents the collection of bacterial fluid, by creating sa hole in the middle of the ear that provides an air passage and allows the fluid to pass through.
What are ear tubes used to treat?
- Recurrent and chronic ear infections (otitis media)
- Persistent, antibiotic-resistant bacterial ear infections
- Fluid in the middle ear that does not drain
- Eustachian tube dysfunction – This occurs when the tube that travels from the ear down the back of the throat is blocked or doesn’t function properly.
How long are ear tubes in place?
- Short-term ear tubes are usually in for 6 to 18 months.
- Long-term tubes may remain for many years.
How are ear tubes removed?
Usually, as the ear drum heals, it naturally pushes the tubes out. They simply slide out of the ear canal and most people aren’t even aware of it. If the ear tubes haven’t fallen out over time, a decision is made to determine if the child has outgrown the issue and is no longer having ear infections or ear drainage.
Do ear tubes ever get stuck?
It’s not common, but sometimes ear tubes may not fall out on their own or they become stuck in the ear wax in the ear canal. If the ear tubes are within the ear canal, and are soft and flexible, they can usually be removed in an office setting using a microscope and micro instruments.
Sometimes the tubes remain in the ear drum. If this happens, a brief procedure may be needed to remove it. Since the tube is still in the ear drum, the ear drum has not been able to heal or close the incisions. So, once the tube is removed, we may need to close the hole with sutures.
Benefits of Ear Tube Placement
A simple procedure can save your child from painful, chronic ear infections. We can perform this minor procedure in our office. Children are not the only ones who may benefit. Adults often show improvement after the fluid is allowed to drain from their middle ear.
Colorado ENT & Allergy is the regional leader in Colorado Springs for ear, nose, throat and allergy care, providing a full range of the highest-quality, patient-centered services. Please Contact Us Today for a Consultation. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions.